On March 15th of this year, I attended the Sitting Pretty auction at London’s Bonhams in support of Chiva Africa; an organisation that provides preven- tion and care services for children and adolescents in South Africa, who suffer with HIV. It was here that a line up 30 celebrities, artists and designers put their personal stamps on chairs that were then put to auction to raise money for this significant cause.
The imagination poured out as the different artist’s started to work, producing a unique collection of hand painted and upholstered chairs.
My favourite was South African born Kimberley Gundle's creation, whose charismatic chair mirrored her colourful and vibrant character. Inspired from her collection of artwork on the Maasai of East Africa, Kimberly digitally printed original designs onto furnishing velvet, held together with a painted beech frame and finished with gold leaf. It had the perfect balance of eccentricity and eclecticism - bold, bright and in no way bashful.
Other supporters of the initiative included South African artists Norman Catherine, Sam Nhlengethwa, Beezy Bailey, Vanashree Singh, Simone Krok
and Porcupine Rocks. Along with British artists consisting of Daniel Lismore, Viscountess Weymouth, Victoria Baker Harber, Mark Francis Vandelli, Nicky Clarke, Kelly Simpkin, Maureen Lipman, Aston Martin, Arsenal Football Club, Dr Ranj Singh, Sinitta, Tricia Guild, Deborah Azzopardi, David Bent, Silia Tung, Rozanne Bell, Samson Soboye, Sam Edkins, Giovanni Bedin and our very own Sorapol.
Whilst enjoying all of these spectac- ular creations, charming waiters and waitresses brought us champagne and an array of canapés, including the most
delicious truffle arancini’s – I must have had a whole tray myself!
After taking it all in -and 5 more arancini’s down - it was time for the auction to commence. You could make bids silently throughout the event on iPad’s, or by going under
the hammer using the old fashioned, ‘hand in the air’ way. Being an auction virgin myself, it was the latter process that had me perked up, as we all cushioned together in anticipation of what would unravel. The atmosphere
was alive and a true sense of purpose filled the room. Bids would start at £1,000, with some of the chairs raising as much as £7,000 for the charity.
It was indeed a fantastic event which successfully raised awareness, help and hope for the Chiva Africa foundation - a concept that so wonderfully displays how something as simple as a chair, when paired with a sprinkling of imagination, can help to better the fabric of life for others less fortunate.
Please visit www.chiva-africa.org to discover more about the foundation, its current projects and how you can support them too.